13 Times When Actors and Actresses Have Done Nearly The Impossible for Their Roles

Signing autographs, endless photoshoots, and receiving long-awaited awards are not what the ordinary life of an actor or actress consists of. Their reality is much more prosaic: actors adhere to strict diets or gain weight, learn new skills (that can be fun, or not), and oftentimes work in conditions that are far from comfortable.

1. Blake Lively — The Shallows (2016)

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The actress starred in a role that required her to wear a bikini only several months after childbirth. In order to get back into shape, Blake Lively was doing physical workouts for 13 hours a day with her couch. Seeing how the actress looks in the movie, we think she more than reached her goal.

2. Rooney Mara — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

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Several weeks prior to the start of shooting the movie, the actress moved to Stockholm on her own accord in order to get enough time to absorb the atmosphere of the city where her character was living. In order to get into the role completely, Rooney Mara dyed her blonde hair black, got piercings, and lightened her eyebrows.

3. Jennifer Lawrence — Winter’s Bone (2010)

Since her character was a small town girl who lives a very poor life on a farm, Jennifer Lawrence had to learn how to do some non-Hollywood things. For example, she mastered the art of cutting down trees with an ax. We could all see how masterfully she learned to do this in the movie.

4. Daniel Day-Lewis — The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

In order to get ready for the role of Hawkeye, the actor had to work hard: he learned how to hunt, build a canoe, operate a tomahawk, and reload a hunting rifle on the fly.

5. Olivia Munn — X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

In order to play the role of Psylocke, the actress mastered sword art and many other things. Almost 6 months of exhausting training produced wonderful results — 95% of the tricks shown in the movie were done by Olivia Munn herself, without stunt doubles. The loss of weight became the side effect of such intense training — the actress confessed she had lost 12 pounds while shooting the flick, but she didn’t really want to.

6. Hilary Swank — Million Dollar Baby (2004)

The actress was awarded an Oscar for the role of Maggie. She would train hard before the shooting: for 3 months she boxed and did weightlifting every day for several hours. Thanks to her working out and protein diet, Hilary Swank gained 19 pounds of muscle.

7. Dustin Hoffman — Marathon Man (1976)

In order to get in shape for the shooting, the actor would run no less than 4 miles daily. When there were scenes where his character was out of breath and had no energy, he would run about a half-mile beforehand to look more natural on the screen.

8. Jared Leto — Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

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The actor lost 30 pounds for the role and was completely in character 24 hours a day. Apart from that, Jared Leto learned how to use lipstick and do wax epilation of his legs and eyebrows.

9. Aaron Eckhart — Rabbit Hole (2010)

Since the plot is focused on a couple who lost their son, Aaron Eckhart decided to start visiting a support group for parents who had survived the death of a child, to get in his character completely. This move was pretty heartless because the actor had to pretend in front of people who were dealing with real sorrow. However, it seems it was worth it because his plunge into this role was complete. Still, the flick has basically remained unnoticed by mass audiences.

10. Ashton Kutcher — Jobs (2013)

To get himself ready for the shooting, the actor started that fruitarian diet, inspired by Steve Jobs. He would especially stick to carrots. Unfortunately, Ashton Kutcher’s body couldn’t stand it and the actor developed pancreas problems, which resulted in his hospitalization.

11. Jamie Dornan — The Fall (2013)

In this series, Dornan played a criminal. In order to get into the role and understand what a person chasing others feels like, the actor made a desperate move. In the subway, he paid attention to one girl and kept following her for several blocks while analyzing his feelings. According to Dornan, this experience was both exciting and dirty.

12. Ruth Wilson — Dark River (2017)

Before the start of the shooting, Ruth Wilson lived and worked on a real farm for 3 weeks in order to sink into a character who had grown up among farmers. Though it doesn’t sound intriguing, the actress had to perform some non-Hollywood work like shearing animals, clipping feet, dragging them, and even castrating lambs.

13. Kate Winslet — Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Fans have had to wait nearly 13 years for the 3-hour-long film Avatar: The Way of Water to finally hit the theaters. But one of the wilder numbers associated with the epic sequel is that the star Kate Winslet spent a record-making 7 minutes and 15 seconds underwater during filming. “I have the video of me surfacing saying, ’Am I dead? Have I died?’ And then going, ’What was [my time]?’” she says. “Straight away, I wanted to know my time. And I couldn’t believe it... The next thing I say is, ’We need to radio set. I wanted Jim to know right away.”

Imagine for a second that you are about to play a role in a movie. What things would you be ready to do for the role?

Preview photo credit Scott Garfitt / Invision / East News, Avatar: The Way of Water / 20th Century Studios and co-producers
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